We spent today at the great Natural History Museum. First we visited the new galleries on human evolution, which show the development of the human species (using skulls and reconstructed skeletons) from the point at which we diverged from the chimpanzees and apes about seven million years ago, through to the evolution of modern humans, Homo sapiens, in Africa an estimated 200,000 years ago. Then we attended a workshop in a gallery charting the evolution of life on Earth over the last 500 million years, and acted out evolution by natural selection with the children in role as different species of birds competing for food. After lunch we split into groups and went to our favourite parts of the museum.
Here’s Sonny’s photographic record of the trip:
And more pictures of the day:
This week’s maths has been on ratio. Here’s a clear introduction to the basic concept from the Khan Academy: Khan academy introduction to ratio . For the next couple of weeks, the focus will be on measurement. We’ll post videos on the blog covering some of the key skills, for the children to look at ahead of the lessons.
In English, we’ve begun to study Macbeth. We’ve read a retelling of the first part of the play – to the point where Macbeth has met the three witches and heard their prophecies. The children have written a letter from Macbeth to Lady Macbeth recounting these events. As well as capturing the formality of a letter that a Scottish nobleman might have written a thousand years ago, the aim was to incorporate some of the Shakespearean language and style – we’ll post examples of the children’s work on the blog.
Our new project is on evolution (see previous posts). Sylvie made this comment in response to one of these posts: “I found starting to learn about evolution slightly confusing because of questions like these… how did the evolution of the start of the whole galaxy start? And how was the first cell made? There are a endless amount of unanswered questions about evolution. As you can see it is quite hard to get your head around.” Quite!
On Friday we discussed what people believed before Darwin’s theory of evolution and the fact that all religions and culture have their own accounts of creation of life on Earth. Over the next few lessons, we’ll try to understand how a scientific theory is different from these accounts. We’ve begun by looking at the route of Darwin’s voyage on the HMS Beagle around the world and next we’ll discuss his observations on the Galapagos Islands. On Friday there’s a class trip to the Natural History Museum where we’ll take part in a workshop about the fossil record of evolution.
Have a good weekend
We talked today about how we are shaped, as human beings, both by our genetic inheritance and by our environment (our life experiences and the choices that we make).
The children had to try to say which – genes or life experience – they thought was a more important influence on their development as a person. Most thought it was their environment.
- Zeca: I personally think that the way you were born doesn’t matter. The most important thing to me is nurture.
- Sylvie: I think the most important is probably environmental because it’s how you’re brought up that determines how happy you are or how your personality is built.
- Faisal: I think environment more than genes because you choose what you want to do and you choose the path you want to follow.
- Sonny: My life is more important than my genes.
- Sarafina. Environment shapes you as a person. You kind of have a growth mindset if you believe in nurture. If you don’t it’s a bit like you’re saying ‘I’m born this way and I can’t change it.’
- Jim says that he’s grown up in a protective environment with caring parents. He says, ‘Even if I had been born in a troubled part of the world, and had the same parents, I would still be roughly who I am now.’
- Nina gave this careful and balanced assessment: I have inherited my mouth, teeth, nose, and eyebrows from my dad. I got my eyes, hair colour and ears from my mum. My parents both run and I think that I inherit half of that from them but I train and do a lot of cross country running to help…. and get lots of encouragement. I personally think that you could be born with a talent and not practise or you could not be born with a talent but train really hard and succeed. I think that envrionment and nurture is more important because it’s your choice of what to do or be.
Add your own thoughts by replying to this post.
Bonus question: which member of the class has evolved from this young lady?
Depictions of 3.5 billion years of the evolution of life on Earth by Sarafina, Olivia and Gabriel (who represents the end of human evolution as a ‘dab’!)
Here’s a selection of interesting questions and observations from members of 6CM that we will try to explore in the project.
- Evolution from a single cell to a human being is miraculous.
- Is it possible that humans will keep evolving?
- Could humans evolve to use 100% of their brains?
- Is evolution ‘just a theory’? Could it be false? What is the evidence to support it?
- What different beliefs do people hold? What did people believe before Darwin came up with his theory of evolution?
You can suggest other questions and ideas for us to explore by replying to this post.